Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


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NaNo NoNo: How to Cope When You Can’t Write a Novel in November

A disappointed child with her face in her hands. She'll grow up to be a writer, you mark my words.

Image Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

I have participated in several years of NaNo WriMo and thoroughly enjoyed each novel. I’ve also written plenty of posts on writing tips for November.

However, this particular year I find myself in a different situation. I’m too ill to participate.

The decision wasn’t a hard one. I’d expected to agonize over whether to do it or not. I’d expected to battle the pull of the daily word count and the fresh characters. But I thankfully made the transition to a Non-NaNo-er without too much emotional upheaval.

I know I’m not the only person who can’t participate in NaNo WriMo this year. So for all those of you who haven’t been able to join the hoards, I share the following tips with you.

Realise You’ll Be Disappointed

It’s okay to feel miffed, disheartened or even depressed that you can’t participate. It’s natural to have a downer when you’re not able to achieve a goal or do something you’ve planned.

Give yourself a little time to sulk, but sulk to a deadline. Set a date at which time you will emotionally move on from your disappointment. You can mope until that day, but on that day you will find yourself something to move on with.

Insulate Yourself If Need Be

Pay attention to things that bring back your negative feelings. If watching other people update their word counts on Twitter sends you into the doldrums, then you may have to avoid reading your twitter feed for a few weeks.

Remember, NaNo WriMo doesn’t define you as a writer. You define what you are as a writer. In that capacity, it’s your job to protect yourself from negative influences.

Set Yourself a New Goal

You’re not able to write 50,000 words on a novel this month, but here’s an opportunity to find another goal you could set yourself. Perhaps you could plan to write 250 words per day, or 500 words per day.

Perhaps you’re editing instead. Can you set a goal to spend an hour a day editing?

Find something to replace the goal you’ve given up. Work towards it. Channel your excitement into that project instead.

Get Out and Enjoy Life

One of the best things about NaNo WriMo is the sense of community, of participating in something people all around the world are doing. So look for ways you can replace that with another community effort.

Perhaps you can join your friends in a project together. Or maybe you can participate in a day activity with some locals.

Even if you just get out of your house and visit a local sight, you’re enjoying life – and life is a project each one of us around the world is working at.

What are your tips for coping with not being able to participate in NaNo WriMo?

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How to Keep Writing After NaNoWriMo

A girl sitting at a table, writing.

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Hi. I’m Jessica’s Creativity and today I’m talking about how you can keep your Creativity fired up long after November 30th.

So, you’ve had some time to recover from the mayhem of November. Have you been using it wisely?

Laundry all done? Nicely folded and ironed? What about the dishes? All washed? Pets fed?

What? You even went for a walk outside? Head-spinning stuff!

But I promise you, when the novelty of novel-less-ness wears off , the normal world of non-NaNoWriMo-ness is nowhere near as exciting. (Now try saying that sentence 10 times fast!)

Think back over November. Hasn’t it been fun? Have you learned things? Enjoyed yourself? Bonded with your Creativity?

Those things don’t have to change. They don’t end with the beginning of December. In fact, you can have that feeling just about every day of the year. How?

Keep Setting Word Count Goals

NaNoWriMo works because it forces you to get words down. It’s about quantity and not quality. The act of sitting down each day and blasting words onto the page helps keep your writing pump in working order. Don’t let it rust up now you’ve got it into such a good rhythm.

Obviously, 50,000 words a month is a bit intense for most people to keep up every month. But what about 250, 500 or 1,000 words a day? Take a look at Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s Wordcount Challenge and get a badge for your site, because Creativities love badges…and marshmellow sandwiches with strawberry sauce. Or is that just me?

Maintain Your Writing Routine

During November you’ve probably learned a lot about what sort of writing routine works best for you. Are you a morning writing person who needs the chirping of birdsong to welcome your words into the world? Or are you a lunch break writer who’s forever dropping crumbs on the keyboard? Or are you a nighttime writer who has to get her chapter finished before knocking out the ‘zzzz’s?

Whatever your routine, why stop now? Now that you know more about what works for you, turn that time of day into your regular writing time.

Cultivate Momentum

NaNoWriMo is an event. You prepare for it. You get excited about it. You record it. You blog about it. You lose sleep over it. Your Creativity loves these things. It keeps him/her popping up ideas and firing out writing fodder.

You may have to work harder to create these elements after NaNoWriMo, but your Creativity will reward you for it.

Try:

  • Creating a motivational poster or cover art for your novel and sticking it somewhere noticeable. (Why not your wall or desktop background?)
  • Blogging about your writing goals.
  • Starting a graph to track your word count progress.
  • Setting aside special writing time to plan your next few chapters.

Make your writing life the event you’re always excited about!

Remember: You’re Still a Writer

Your status as a writer doesn’t change when December 1st comes around. You’re still a writer! You can still write words, create characters, twist plots and reach your writing goals.

Keep yourself writing this month and on into the future, because you have words to bring into the world!

By the way, how did your NaNoWriMo go? Let us know in the comments. If you’ve blogged about your month, leave a link for us to take a look.


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Oops, I Started NaNo WriMo Without a Plan

Four kids jumping into a pool holding hands

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art

So, you all know how Jessica’s been dutifully telling everyone she wasn’t going to participate in NaNo WriMo this November? Well, when November 1st came around, force of habit kicked in and somehow she found herself opening a new document and just pouring 2,000 words onto the page.

She was surprised.

I was surprised!

But it was fantastic. By word 1,542 I had woken up to what she was doing and created the most brilliant idea (if I do say so myself, which I do, so there).

We went from averaging half a sentence per day (and the sentence was complete and utter bilge I tell you), to knocking out 2,000 words a day. Just like that. It was wonderful.

Why?

Because we didn’t feel like we had to fulfill any particular requirements. We just had to throw words at the page until we reached 2,000 and then we could do the same tomorrow.

But there’s a snag. Because we didn’t realise we were going to NaNo WriMo this year, we did no preparation. None. Zip. Nada. *Insert sound of air rushing through ear holes.*

So how do you go from having absolutely no idea what you’re gonna write about to pounding out 50,000 words?

Naturally, we have suggestions on the subject.

Start Chasing Wild Horses

Recently Jessica came across a post by Raewyn Hewitt in which she likened writing first drafts to chasing wild horses.

This is a brilliant description of a first draft. You’re chasing the idea and trying to scope out its edges. That’s all a first draft is for.

If you don’t know what your story is about, then this is the time to find out. Just open up your words and chase horses until you catch one. Often, it’s only one thought or one sentence from your first draft which is all you take across to your next draft.

So make that the goal. 30 days. 50,000 words. One good sentence.

Describe the World from Your Protagonist’s POV

If you have no idea what your world is like and what kind of people live there, grab yourself a protagonist and get them to describe the world to you. See things through their eyes, and search for the history, people, experiences, customs and quirks of the world.

In this way you find out about your world and your protagonist at the same time.

Interview Your Characters

If you don’t know much about your characters (Jessica started out not even knowing her main character’s name!) then put your characters in an interview situation and start asking them questions.

Any questions – easy, hard, random, obscure. You might be very surprised at their answers.

Don’t stress about how accurate the answers are or about getting to the absolute heart of what that character feels. People twist the truth or evade answers and your characters probably will too. Just let the words flow and see where they take you.

Change Elements at Random

This is a first draft. It’s free and it’s written only for you.

So feel free to switch points of view whenever you feel like it (especially if you’re getting sick of your current point of view). Switch time periods. Switch genres. Switch tenses (e.g. instead of ‘he said he would fling a mango at me,’ try ‘he says he’s going to fling a mango at me’).

If you’re blocked for words, use the opportunity to change things around and find another angle to write from.

This is fun! This is exciting! And this is what writing is all about. Fling your words happily and freely at your canvas and see what happens.

Remember. 30 days. 50,000 words. One good sentence. Not necessarily a great sentence, just a good sentence. And take it from there.

How’s your novel coming along so far? Do share.


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Ready, Set, NaNo WriMo!

The piece of film at the beginning of a movie.

Image credit: Microsoft clip art

Before I start this post, I just want to say that our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by Superstorm Sandy.

NaNo WriMo starts today!

Are you ready?

The first day of November usually hits you in one of two ways.

  • Full of excitement you plonk yourself down in front of the page, ready to free all that pent-up energy and get your word count started!
  • The overwhelming pressure of 50,000 words completely paralyses you and the ironing, gardening or alphabetising of bookshelves becomes irresistible.

Either way, welcome to November.

This month will be full of highs and lows, times when words come easily and times when they won’t come at all. But you can do it!

Here are three posts I wrote last year to get you in the writing mood.

  • 3 Myths About the First Draft – If you’re finding it hard to get your words flowing, this is the post for you! It’s a great reminder that first drafts are written only for you and they must be messy.
  • Tips for Those Writing by the Seat of Their Pants – NaNo WriMo is all about writing by the seat of your pants. If you’re not used to your story finding its own path as you write, then have a look at these tips and the related articles. Embrace the random and don’t look back.
  • Hit a Snag With Your Story? Why Not Try… – If you get to the point where you don’t know what to write, then try one of Creativity’s suggestions to capture your Creativity’s excitement and attention again.

Congratulations on setting out on this crazy journey. We’re all supporting you. Leave a note below and let us know how you’re going. You can also link through to your NaNo WriMo profile so we can watch your word count grow!


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If You’re Preparing For NaNo WriMo, Read These Posts

Little girl standing on a diving board looking very excited

The National Novel Writing Month starts in two weeks. Eek! Are you ready?

Unfortunately, I won’t be taking part in NaNo WriMo this year. I’m working on slowly getting back into routine. I think 2,000 words a day would kill me at this point.

However, I know that some of my readers are taking part. I’m giving you a big cheer and dollops of encouragement to get you through!

With our intrepid writers in mind, here are a few of my posts from last year on the subject of prepping for NaNo WriMo:

Last year I encouraged everyone to ‘declare their novel‘ with the hope that it would provide excitement and momentum going into November. It worked really well and everyone who participated seemed very enthused.

So I once again encourage anyone who is participating in NaNo WriMo to declare their novel below. Tell us a bit about what you’re planning for November, even if it’s just a phrase, location or character. Describe whatever has captured your imagination.

Share a little piece of what you’re working on so we can get behind you and cheer you on!

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art


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Recuperating from the Fray of Madcap Writing

A young man asleep by his computer after a pizza-fueled writing session.

I’m slowly recovering from an intense month of writing, flu and the life in between. My mum has been visiting for two weeks and we’ve been having riotous fun together.

But now it’s December and one must get back into routine! Before we do that however, let’s just take a moment to reminisce.

Things I’ve Learned During November

This is the first time I’ve ‘won’ NaNo WriMo, and I’ve learned some things in the process.

Keep Muddling Through

This draft is one of the hardest I have ever worked on. Nothing seemed to gel and I remember describing it as ‘soul destroying.’ However, it did eventually lead to a breakthrough in my novel. And, to boot, I came up with several interesting ideas, including the answer to a story problem which has been eating away at me for two years.

So I’ve learned that the most important part of writing is the ‘ing’ – the continuing process. It doesn’t have to be pretty, and it’s not going to be easy, but by chipping away at it you’ll end up discovering things about your story and yourself that would otherwise never have been revealed.

Enthusiasm is Important, But Not Always Possible

My days were always easier when I was enthusiastic about what I was writing. Words flowed (at one point 2,200 words in 60 minutes) and ideas gelled.

But part of my problem was that November started one week too late. 7 days before November 1st I was ready to go! I had my ideas, my characters and my plot all lined up, I just needed to be unleashed. During that extra week stuff happened and I ended up landing on November 1st with no enthusiasm and the sinking feeling that I’d bitten off more than I could chew.

Still, I sat down at my computer and started to write. I forced those words onto the page, even on days when they felt ridiculous, hollow and just plain meaningless. I knew what I was writing was rubbish, and even now that I look back on it I don’t think I’m going to use what I’ve written – but I set myself a goal and I achieved it, which gives me the following perks in return.

  • I have a sense of accomplishment. I did it! And I’m proud of it! I proved to myself that I can write 50,000 words in a month. If that’s possible, what else can I achieve?
  • I have propelled myself through a really tough patch of writing. On day 28, as I reached my 50,000, I came up with a fresh angle on how I’m going to write this story. I wouldn’t have got there if I hadn’t spent that time and those words on my story.

So I wasn’t always a ball of enthusiasm and excitement when I sat down to my keyboard every day, but rummaging up even just a little pep to tide me through the first 500 words (and then the next 500 and the next) helped immensely. And on days when even that wasn’t possible, I just gritted my teeth and wrote the words.

We are writers. Even if all else fails, we have to write the words.

With those words now written, I can move on to my next set of goals.

Things I Have in the Works

I will now start working on the edits for my new e-book Tips For Those Contemplating Insanity, and will share with you all soon.

Also, I plan to launch a new blog early next year to do with all the whacky, wonderful, surprising and heart-warming things I have encountered in China. Don’t worry though, Creativity’s Workshop will still carry on as normal (whenever we work out what ‘normal’ is)!

I’ll share more details on these two projects as they come to hand.

Now, please share with us the interesting things you’ve learned over the past month, or year, or lifetime. We all love hearing nuggets of wisdom.

P.S. Sorry for the randomness of my posts lately. The internet and I are having a battle of wills at the moment. It took me over an hour to upload this post. Thank goodness for Freecell and Solitaire.


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NaNo WriMo Week 4 Highlights

Well, the flu is almost gone and I’ve made it over the 50,000 word hurdle!

I’m still completely out of routine and exhausted from coughing so I’ll keep this brief.

Thank you to those who commented last week with updates on their work. It was so lovely to hear from you.

We really do care about how your work is progressing so please take a moment to comment below and let us know how your week went. We’re all in this together and love cheering our fellow writers on.

Yesterday, as I passed 49,000 words, I suddenly came up with a novel-changing idea which means I’ve basically got to scrap everything and start back at square one…and I’m so excited! The new idea requires a completely different format, and my snippet today is a sneak peak at that format.

So, here goes. Please remember this is a rough draft.

For all those who remember Edward’s previous run in with the gas stove, here is his tried and true method for turning the gas on.

1. Roll up sleeves. This prevents the likelihood of your clothes catching fire.

2. Position yourself far enough away from the stove so that your hand can reach the knob but you’re still at a distance which protects your eyebrows and various other singe-able parts of your person.

3. Hold down the knob. When you hear the clicking sound, turn the knob. The flames will gush out with force. Hold your nerve and proceed to step four.

4. Depress the knob several times in quick succession. This is to ensure the flames ‘catch’ and don’t go out the second you take your hand off the knob.

5. Once you have a good blaze going, keep holding the knob down and turn it until you’re happy with the size of flames. (You’re never going to get perfectly obedient flames so just resolve yourself to fast cooking and pick a reasonable flame height. Suggestion: 2cm is probably the smallest you’re going to get.)

6. Gently and slowly release the knob. Hopefully your flames will remain. If not, repeat steps 3 to 6.

NOTE: If you do at some point need to open the cupboard under the stove, do so slowly and carefully. If opened too quickly, the suction of air will blow gas flames out and you will need to start at step 1 again.

Now, please share with us a snippet from your writing this week. It doesn’t have to be polished, just something you liked.

Remember, everyone is welcome to join in. You don’t have to be doing NaNo WriMo, and you don’t have to be writing a first draft. Share a snippet and feel proud of it.


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NaNo WriMo Week 3 Highlights

Sorry for the delay this week. I have the flu. My husband has declared it a ‘humdinger’ and my brain is mush. I’m muddling onwards as best I can.

Briefly, I’ve just passed 40,000 words (as you can see from the nifty little word count icon on the right) and I’m nowhere near the middle of my novel (let alone the end), so this looks like a first draft which will take far longer than November…how exciting!

My brother has already made his 50,000 and he’s still powering onwards. Yay! (I’m also feeling the nigglings of jealousy but I’m not letting myself dwell on that. I’m competing with a word count, not my fellow writers!)

Please take a moment to comment below and let me know how you’re progressing with whatever writing project you’re working on (NaNo WriMo or otherwise).

It’s difficult to pick an excerpt to share with you as my writing is very rough – scenes peppered with notes for things to add further up. I’ve chosen this little exchange between Edward and Peta as they take a walk along the street together.

Please remember this is a rough draft.

‘What do you think of Beijing so far?’ said Peta

Edward thought it best to keep the majority of his thoughts to himself at this stage, frightened he’d put his foot in it again. ‘It’s interesting. Different.’

‘Overwhelming?’ said Peta, grinning at him.

Edward opened his mouth to reply, but tripped on something and struggled to keep his balance. Looking back he saw a large screw sticking out of the concrete pavement. ‘What on earth is that doing there? Someone could do themselves damage.’

‘First lesson,’ said Peta. ‘Always walk with your eyes on the ground in front of you. This place is a minefield of trip hazards. Screws, uneven pavement, dog poo, spit, manholes without their covers. Keep your eyes on the road.’

‘Manholes without covers?’

‘Oh yes, happens all the time. I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve heard rumours that people take them for scrap metal.’

Edward walked along, looking at the pavement. It was made of up grey blocks, with a strip of light pink, ridged blocks down the side. Here and there the edges of the blocks sat up, presenting the perfect trip hazard. Now that he was looking, he also saw small puddles of spit and other things he’d rather not step in.

‘Makes you realise why Chinese always leave their shoes at the door, doesn’t it?’ said Peta.

This was a something Edward had never thought of before, and he took a moment to ponder it. He also made a vow that these shoes would never make it further into his home than the front door, already dreading the stuff he might have walked through his apartment.

That makes my story (and China) sound rather disgusting, but I swear it’s not! The situation is, however, something one just has to live with here. It’s a truism.

Now, please share with us a snippet from your writing this week. It doesn’t have to be polished, just something which you liked.

Remember, everyone is welcome to join in. You don’t have to be doing NaNo WriMo, and you don’t have to be writing a first draft. Share a snippet of something you’ve written this week and feel proud of it.

P.S. Please take a minute to read the post Obvious and amazing: Sending your creative work out into the world on Carole Jane Tregget’s blog about why we should not delete while writing drafts. It is a fantastic reminder.


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Hit a Snag With Your Story? Why Not Try…

Lots of scoops of different flavoured icecream. Yum.

Hi, I’m Jessica’s Creativity and I’m here to give you some tips on changing things up with your story.

How’s your word count coming along? Have you reached a bit of an impasse where your character doesn’t know what to do or your plot is refusing to move forward?

It’s possible your Creativity’s attention is waning a little. But you can fix that! How?

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Most Creativities love it when you throw in something random to spice things up. 

Why not try one of these?

  • Introduce a new character – Suddenly your protagonist’s brother, a trapeze artist currently ‘between traveling circuses,’ turns up on the doorstep with an overnight bag. Or your protagonist’s mother calls to ask her how she is and if she’s washed behind her ears recently. Or your protagonist is out kayaking and sees the girl of his dreams, only to have her washed down the rapids and out of his life! 
  • Discover a dead body – It might be the body of one of your main characters (gasp!) or the body of a complete unknown (now you must discover who has been killed) or it might not even be a human body (‘Oh my goodness, George. I’ve squashed an ant!’). 
  • Fire your protagonist – Nothing changes things up like unemployment. Does this give your character chance to apply for their dream job? Jump on the next boat out of here and sail to that harbour they’ve always wanted to see? Or does it mean they now have to work at Greasy Joe’s to make ends meet?
  • Give your protagonist a new pet – Perhaps they buy that cute little puppy which has been making eyes at them from the pet shop window every morning. Or their next-door neighbour goes on holiday and asks your protagonist to look after their boa constrictor for the week. Or a bird flies into the kitchen window and damages its wing, so now your protagonist must care for it. 
  • Kill off a wealthy relative and provide your protagonist (or antagonist!) with an inheritance – The sudden addition of money often shows a person’s true colours (I’m currently aqua with chocolate stripes, but that’s neither here nor there). Does your protagonist buy a new car? A new house? Plane tickets to the other side of the world? Donate to a charity? Or imagine if your chief bad guy suddenly had a windfall? ‘Yes! Now I can finally build that secret evil lair I’ve been planning since childhood!’
  • Inflict a natural disaster – Perhaps an earthquake hits suddenly. Or maybe a hurricane/cyclone warning has been issued and everyone must batten down the hatches. How do your characters cope with disaster? And what will they do with themselves when they have lost everything?

Remember, the first draft is for you to explore all the exciting possibilities of your characters, location, theme and plot. So have fun! Be random. Splash out and paint on your page with great, fearless strokes!

Also, have a read of this post from The Office of Letters and Light blog about where authors found their real life inspirations for characters like Mr. Darcy, Sherlock Holmes and Alice (in Wonderland). 


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NaNo WriMo Week 2 Highlights

We’re almost half way through the month. Eek! How is everyone going?

I’ve managed over 26,000 words, although I’ve now done almost 2 weeks of ‘writing bilge.’ In the past day or two I’ve started to feel more comfortable with how my writing sounds, but it’s been quite a struggle up until that point.

A couple of nights ago I decided to change Edward’s profession from teacher to businessman in the hope that it will make certain story points easier. However, the result is that the majority of what I’d written up until that point has to change. Doh!

But here’s where the beauty of first drafts kicks in. I will make those changes in the next draft. For now, I’ve typed up some quick notes on how will I change things and then I’m continuing on with my current draft – writing as if he’s always been a businessman.

I find this fantastically liberating for two reasons:

  • Firstly, because I don’t have to trudge back to the start and begin again. I finally have some writing momentum. I don’t want to lose that by starting at the beginning again. As I continue writing, there will always be things I want to change earlier in the story. But I’ve set the precedent – no going back until we’ve reached the end. Leave a note and keep writing!
  • Secondly, because I know it will be easy to start on my second draft. I know when I pull it out of the draw several months down the track, I won’t read it and wonder where I’m going to start. I already know. The thing is a mess and lots of scenes are out of order. By the time I clean up the structure, I’ll be on a roll – having gathered momentum again to keep making progress.

So I’m very pleased with what I’ve accomplished this week. What about you? Please share with us some highlights (or difficulties) of your week.

It’s been very hard to choose an excerpt from my writing this week because, as mentioned above, I’ve been working through bilge. However, yesterday I wrote the following and decided this was what I wanted to share.

Here’s a little background: Edward has met our leading lady (Peta) on a plane into Beijing and she’s given him her phone number in case he ever needs help. After that, he was picked up from the airport by a Chinese representative of his company and taken to his new apartment.

He is jet lagged and just wants a cup of tea before curling up for some shut-eye. In the process of attempting to make a cup of tea, he discovers there is no kettle, water is leaking from under the kitchen sink and the gas won’t light. He goes downstairs to find the building manager and ends up coming across ‘Mr. Go’ who speaks virtually no English. Mr. Go is now standing in Edward’s kitchen trying to communicate with him.

With me so far? Remember, this is first draft stuff so it’s pretty rough at this stage – spit and polish comes later.

Edward fumbled around in his pocket. There, on a piece of paper, was Peta’s phone number. When she gave it to him, he actually had no intention of using it, but right now he would give anything for an English speaker. He dialed and then waited.

‘Hello?’ said the voice.

Edward sighed in relief. ‘Hello. This is Edward. We met on the plane.’

‘Oh hi! How’s life?’

‘Frustrating.’

‘Ah,’ she said. ‘Welcome to China.’

‘There’s a leak under the kitchen sink and the gas won’t work. I think the building manager is here to look at it but I can’t understand what he’s saying.’

‘You think the building manager is there? Are you worried you’re hallucinating?’

‘No, what I mean is there is a man here who I think is the building manager.’

‘Ah. I get you. Do you need some help?’

‘Yes,’ said Edward. ‘Help is exactly what I need.’

‘So leak under the sink and a problem with the gas, right?’

‘Right.’

‘Let me talk to the guy.’

Edward handed the phone over again. Mr. Go had been feeling all the pipes under the sink and turning the tap on and off. He stopped, wiped his wet hand on his shirt and took the phone. The two of them had a chummy conversation, after which Mr. Go handed the phone back with a smile.

Edward put it back to his ear. ‘How did that go?’

‘He already knows about the leak. He says he’ll need to go get his stuff and come back to fix it.’

Edward felt his eyes close. ‘Great,’ he said, with no enthusiasm.

‘He’s going to look at the gas now.’

As she said this, Mr. Go pushed down on the stove knob. The stove clicked a couple of times and then belched fiery gas. Mr. Go fiddled with something, Edward was too tired to see what. Then Mr. Go pressed the knob again. This time the gas flames leapt over a foot into the air with a percussive whoosh, like the first few seconds of a rocket liftoff.

‘Mm,’ said Mr. Go, with a nod. Then he turned to Edward, gave him the thumbs up sign and said, ‘Okay!’

Edward realised the breeze in his mouth was caused by the dropping of his jaw. ‘Okay?’ he croaked. ‘You call that okay?’

Mr. Go glanced back at the stove. He pushed down the knob again, resulting in the same violent explosion. ‘Mm. Okay.’

Edward couldn’t peel his eyes off the spot where the flames had just been. The merest whimper escaped his lips.

‘Do you need me to come around?’ said Peta, her voice sounding suddenly far away. ‘I think you need someone there with you.’

Edward tried to speak, but the heaviness had now migrated to his throat and nothing would come out.

‘Where are you staying?’ she said. ‘What’s the address?’

A further realisation hit him. ‘I have no idea where I am.’

‘Give the phone back to the guy. I’ll ask him.’

Edward mechanically handed the phone back to Mr. Go, who was watching Edward with amusement. He started chatting, then pointing in different directions with his finger. Nodding a couple of times, he said ‘bye bye’ and gave the phone back again.

‘Turns out I live really close by,’ she said to Edward. ‘I’ll be over there shortly.’

Edward gurgled something in reply and then she hung up.

Mr. Go pointed to the sink and then to the door. He said something, then toddled out.

Edward staggered to the couch and eased himself down. Asimov hopped up beside him, putting his head on Edward’s lap.

‘Good grief,’ Edward said to no one in particular. ‘What have I got myself into?’

For the record, my gas stove does exactly that. We have to lean back whenever we light it so as not to catch any part of our person aflame. Ah, China. What fun.

Now, please share with us a snippet from your writing this week. It doesn’t have to be polished, just something which you liked.

Remember, everyone is welcome to join in. You don’t have to be doing NaNo WriMo, and you don’t have to be writing a first draft. Share a snippet of something you’ve written this week and feel proud of it.

P.S. I’ve just come across this interesting new writing blog called Swagger run by 8 writers. They’ve already posted some interesting articles. My favourites so far are Becoming a Writer (a reminder on the true definition of ‘writer’) and Can’t Please Everyone (which is something I’m always forgetting). Take a look and enter their Swagger Swag Giveaway (hurry though as it ends November 15th).